My only (so far) volunteer project was this past Nov. 2013, in Nicaragua/FInca Esperanza Verde. This was such an amazing experience. We stayed a week long in one of the most elevated mountains I’ve ever been to, reaching 4,000 feet high. From the initial beautiful welcoming by Vivann and staff, followed by a candlelight dinner for all. Our three times a day meals consisted of mostly organic foods from the Finca. We even learned about the different plants/tress and picked out our fresh vegetables to be consumed. Including mint leaves for fresh mojitos!
Our missionary tasks consisted of putting up a fence, digging holes, reforestation of coffee, oaks, and cedar plants. We became educated on the entire coffee process from picking out the coffee beans up to the required standards of the organic farm guidelines, putting them through the mill, selecting and pealing the ones that actually turned out acceptable, drying these beans to prepare them to get transferred to another farm for additional steps of preparation.
One of my most highlighted experiences was having the opportunity to interact and play with the kids of a school of six different grades located in the Finca. The kids were so well disciplined, receptive, and full of life. Even with such a high demand of need from clothing to essential nutrition they posses a strong drive and determination in both academics and even sports. I wish I had more time dedicated to the children.
Although our stay in the finca was pretty booked all day with a full itinerary of things to do, we also had our breaks to enjoy learning about one another and soak all the beauty of this amazing paradise. There are five awesome trails that we explored along with the wild birds/animals. To put it all in a nutshell… Mornings practicing yoga, afternoon breaks lying on a hammock getting a tan while reading a book, attended mass in the local church, one full day in the city of Matagalpa (shopping and site seeing), lessons of how to cook tortillas, making recycled paper as well as our own jewelry out of organic beads.
We stayed in a group bunk bed cabin with a choice of washing with an invigorating cold shower! Believe it or not I actually looked forward to this. It just came with the territory. I would certainly do this all over in a heartbeat. I’m very grateful for this humbling experience and described in one word for me would be purity of simple life;-)